Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hats Off To The Courageous And Dedicated Search And Rescue Teams, Doctors And Nurses In Haiti

Is the United States government capable of doing anything other than waging war and murdering people? This situation in Haiti is a disgrace. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush preening in front of the cameras in their thousand dollar suits saying they're going to divert money from humanitarian relief and funnel it into some development fortune to be used to re-make Haiti for the benefit of the wealthy and the multinational corporations. Don't send them a penny. If Bill Clinton or George W. Bush want to help, they could raise money (and how about if they donate some of their own millions) and turn it immediately over to the well-established international relief agencies who might actually help the people of Haiti.

For example, turn it over to Habitat for Humanity and let them go into Haiti and train the citizens in construction plus help build housing for the people. Give the money to Doctors Without Borders (Medicines Sans Frontieres) and let them use it to build hospitals and clinics, and staff them, and buy the equipment and medical supplies needed to keep them going for decades. But no, the money raised by Clinton and Bush will undoubtedly go to pay Blackwater to send in private mercenary squads, and to pay Halliburton to go in and build prisons.

Everyone being interviewed on the news tells the same story. As Anderson Cooper said, he got a commercial flight into the Dominican Republican and drove to Port au Prince. So if he could do it, why hasn't the U.S. sent in teams of doctors with medical supplies by the same route? Why did the U.S. government take control of the only major airport, then refuse to allow Doctors Without Borders to land there with their portable hospitals and supplies, and doctors, who are immediately available to save lives? Why are life-saving flights being turned away in favor of U.S. military flights? Once again, our government is disgracing us while our people are pitching in generously trying to help the poor people in Haiti. It's an embarrassment. And thousands more are going to die because of it.

But hats off to the search and rescue teams who have gone straight into Port au Price to try to save lives. These are teams from all over the world. I think Iceland was the first country to get search and rescue teams into Port au Prince. Not the U.S., mind you, the closest and richest nation near Haiti. But Iceland. And China. Some team from Virginia is there, along with teams from Los Angeles and New York City. When I heard that the U.N. building in Haiti had been demolished I figured the Israelis must be there, because they always bomb the U.N. headquarters when they invade and attack their neighbors. But admittedly, the Israelis have sent a team to help out, so give them credit where due. I'm sure the people of Israel aren't as horrible as their government is, just like the people of the U.S. aren't as heartless as our government is in failing to do much of anything to help save people's lives.

I was thinking that some of these people who were buried in rubble but somehow ended up in a pocket, and were eventually rescued, must have thought they were dead. Inside the dark with little but dust and sand, drifting in and out of consciousness, waiting to die. Then suddenly there is light, there is a bottle of water, and there are hands and people in orange or blue jumpsuits speaking some strange language, lots of hands lifting these people out of the void and darkness and into the light. To look up and see Chinese people, or white people, or really really pale white people, speaking some unknown language. I wonder if these rescued people think that this is heaven, and the angels are all Chinese or Americans with funny accents.

Hats off to these search and rescue people. I would not step on that unstable rubble, which could collapse at any moment and kill them all. I would not step on it never mind lower myself on a rope into an opening inside the rubble, which is what some of them do. Amazing people. Unimaginable courage. And how do they deal with the endless failure and death they must face in a disaster such as this?

Once again, Anderson Cooper is on the scene reporting under the most miserable conditions. Why is it that he can get into the middle of Port au Prince but the U.S. government is incapable of going there to deliver food or water? Same thing as happened in New Orleans: Anderson Cooper was there, but the U.S. government was not. Some people diminish Anderson Cooper's reporting because he grew up in a very privileged family. And he's really cute. But let's acknowledge that his very privilege would be a great excuse for him to refuse an assignment that involved any discomfort. But that's not what he does. The U.S. aid agencies are afraid to go into Port au Prince to help the people. But there goes Anderson, right into the thick of things. My hat is off to him as well. Also, he made the comment that his favorite charity is Doctors Without Borders, and they are always the first into the thick of things in any disaster. So I like him for that too.

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